Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura transit facility under the revised Inland Water Transit and Trade Protocol between India and Bangladesh became operational.
The transit facility was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka in June 2015. It was officially inaugurated on 16 June 2016.
As part of it, the first ship from Kolkata carrying 1000 tonnes of steel and iron sheets reached Ashuganj river port in Bangladesh. From the port the cargo will transit throughout Bangladesh territory to reach its destination in Tripura.
About Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura transit facility
- The facility running through a land and river route crossing Bangladesh territory cuts the Kolkata-Agartala distance via Siliguri’s ‘chicken neck’ from 1600 km to 800 km.
- It also has reduced the time of the journey from 30 days (via Siliguri corridor) to just 10 days.
- It has cut the transportation costs from mainland India to the north-eastern state from 67 US dollars to 35 US dollars per tonne.
- However, as per the protocol India pays transit fees of 192.25 dollars per tonne as negotiated between the two countries.
- With the formal inauguration of the transit facility, both friendly neighbours have crossed yet another milestone in their bilateral relations and regional connectivity.
- The Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura tranist route gives mainland India cheaper and easier access to the seven landlocked northeastern states.
Under the India-Bangladesh Bilateral Trade Agreement, the revised Inland Water Transit & Trade Protocol gives both countries right to use each other’s territory for transiting goods to third countries. Thus it allows Bangladesh to transit goods to Bhutan and Nepal while India can access Myanmar via Bangladesh giving impetus to Act east policy. The protocol also facilitates trade and development not only between Bangladesh and India but also in the entire sub-region facilitating trade and development in the sub-region.